This project, the best kind, emerged from the whim of writer and artist, Matthew Wolfe. When the pandemic began, he started assembling and sharing on Facebook a daily photograph of possessions, many with notes. Each photo carried a shadowbox appeal, a frozen moment in time. Enter Sheila-Na-Gig editor, Hayley Mitchell Haugen, who suggested moving this work to a book format, and to open a call for writers to share their writing in response to Matthew’s photos.
It is a hefty volume, beautifully crafted. The book contains Matthew’s writing, a record of the early days of the pandemic, his photographs with notes, and the writings of 46 poets from the U.S., Canada, India, and Wales, who responded in kind, ekphrastically, to Matthew’s work.
I am grateful to have three poems included in this collection: “Day 79: Something Cohen Said,” “Outside Terrace, B.C.,” and “Day 100: Road Trip Is Life.”
This project is truly an act of a collaboration in both the project and more global sense. It is one that I’ll look back on in gratitude having had this chance to document those early days the world entered into a period of social distancing, questioning, uncertainty, and survival.
Thank you to Matthew and Hayley for gifting this to the reading world.
It’s such an honor to have poetry included in the annual literary journal, Tidal Echoes. I’m sure I say this every year, but the journal is phenomenal. A quick preview of the Contents is akin to attending a family reunion, only it’s a paper family of writers that come together annually to celebrate not only the journal’s launch, but what it is to live in Southeast Alaska. We are lucky indeed that Emily Wall oversee this project. This year’s editorial team of Erika Bergren, Emily Bowman, and Ana Erickson carried the torch in ensuring the completed journal is not only as amazing as those of years past, but maintains its own unique identity. And his is evident from the front to back cover which features Lily Hope’s incredible weaving.
I think that the challenges of the year forced many to back burner their writing routines. I know that over the course of the year, my own writing output has diminished somewhat. As we’ve learned, this is a side effect of living through a pandemic. So many have experienced stress, anxiety, dismay, fear, and profound loss on many levels. It’s no wonder that writing is set adrift for the greater need to simply survive.
Anyway, I do thank this editorial crew for publishing this gem of journal. Its simple landing in my mailbox still beckons summer closer and I so I have great kinship with this work.
And I also thank the editorial board for including my poetry: “Tent’s Collective Memory,” “Heart as a burning state,” and “Before Snow Flies.”